Summer Camp Goes Virtual

Zhorie’l with “Summer Camp To Go” boxes and some of her completed STEM projects

Central Creativity is an innovative learning facility that provides immersive instruction. Located in Laurel, Mississippi, the organization specializes in art, music, science, math, engineering, technology, reading, and summer camps. Due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, students have not been able to attend in-person camps this summer.

Rhye McLeod, Central Creativity’s director of technology, has had to come up with a way for students to experience the camps even if they can’t do so in person. “We believe that communities are only as vibrant as the learning opportunities that take place within them,” he said.

With that in mind, “Summer Camp To Go” was created. More than 1,000 students from several states and Canada were able to attend the inaugural camp from the comfort of their own home.


Camper John Michael Messina, 10, enjoyed making s’mores with a solar cooker. 


Summer Camp To Go provides students with at-home experiments that are both educational and fun. Campers Stella Messina, 12, and John Michael Messina, 10, of New Orleans, Louisiana, enjoyed the Shell Energy Venture Camp.

“I learned about different types of energy, how to get them, and which energy sources are most environmentally-friendly,” Stella said.

John Michael combined his STEM learning with a taste treat. “I liked the solar cooker experiment,” he said, “because the s’mores were yummy.” 

Those were just the types of experiences that Central Creativity had designed. “It was our hope,” McLeod said, “that our campers would leave with a sense of wonder and pride in all they had accomplished throughout the week.” 


“Summer Camp To Go” boxes before being shipped to kids


Central Creativity plans to conduct more virtual camps in the future. “If you’re into gaming, robotics, ecology, food science, cosmetic chemistry, and more,” McLeod said, “there is going to be something to excite and inspire you.”

Virtual learning may be a reality for many students in the 2020-’21 school year. Due to the continuing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging people to avoid gathering in large groups.

After participating in a virtual camp, John Michael is “much more comfortable with online work.” Stella agreed that the experience has helped her get ready for school. “Since we have done so much online work,” she said, “it will be much easier.” 


Top and middle photos courtesy of the author; bottom photo courtesy of Central Creativity